Thursday, May 30, 2019

Old Blue Eyes

Brownest eyes I ever did see!

My youngest is now seven. He’s a solid seven, although he’s known he knows everything since he was about four or five.  He’s not afraid to tell you either, and, like certain politicians, he doesn’t back down when he’s wrong.

A few days ago, when I was feeling less ill, he was telling me how he was born with brown eyes and they changed to blue.  This isn’t true.  He’s always had blue eyes.

He was adamant on this point.

Even offering my eye-witness account of his birth, and seeing his blue eyes for the first time didn’t sway him.  He knew he’d had brown eyes that had changed.

He finally forced me to dig out some baby pictures and, sure enough, he had blue eyes in all of them.

I can’t even tell you how satisfying it is to win an argument with a seven-year-old.

What’s the oddest argument you’ve ever been in?  Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Five Star Review from Eric Lahti

This book. So much awesome!

I really can’t say enough good things about Eric Lahti’s work. His HENCHMEN series is so fun! GREETINGS FROM SUNNY ALUNA is such a brilliant mix of hard-boiled detective noir and urban fantasy and Chinese wuxia that I want to steal it and try to pass it off as my own.

Plagiarism is wrong, kids, and I would never do that. Still, this book . . . so awesome!

It’s even better when you manage to impress someone like Lahti with your own writing. Even though I was sick over Memorial weekend, and remain sick this morning, I’m a little more floaty from reading his review. I assure you, it’s not all the drugs:

Steampunk was never really my bag. It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of detailed explanations of how clockwork and steam power and mold the world. At some point in some Steampunk stories, the tech gets advanced enough that you find yourself reading about how tiny switches bring intelligence to artificial creations. When that happens, I often wonder why the hell the author didn’t just write a cyberpunk story and call it good. Maybe it’s the lusty allure of pocketwatches and good old-fashioned steam-powered cars. You know, all the stuff we see every day, only run by analog water vapor.

Those are the stories where it’s obvious the author was just trying to cash in on the steampunk genre rather than adding something unique to it.

I’m pleased to say The Clockwork Detective doesn’t fall into that trap. There are a few descriptions of a steam-powered world – Aubrey’s leg, the dirgibles that plow the skies like iron ships across an ocean of air – but mostly R.A. McCandless just lets the story be the story. As a result, it’s not the tedious read that some Steampunk falls into.

You haven’t even gotten to the best line, yet!

Let me know what your favorite part of the story is in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Forging the Blade of Black Vengeance

Oh Ethan.

This isn’t something I’ve ever considered, and usually the phrase is “quenched in the blood of my enemies” but I enjoy a good jaunt down the theoretical forging of blades, so let’s do some math.

There is about 5 grams of iron in an average male body. The average sword is between 1-2kg of iron (average being very loosely defined here) and so we can use 1.5kg as our mean for discussion. Thus, we need 1500 grams of iron.  So, the numbers would totally work if that were the only figure we were looking at:

5 grams (per enemy) x 300 (enemies) = 1500 grams

However, that’s not how biology works. Some of that 5 grams of iron is distributed in bone marrow, tissues, etc. This means that because extracting from other area than blood is tricky at best, and doesn’t meet the phrasing’s criteria, we need to work from some different numbers. We have to go by how much iron there is in blood—about .5 grams per liter. The average male has 4.7 liters of blood.

Now, based on this, we can really get to the number of “enemies” we need in order to forge a sword made from their blood.

We still need our 1500 grams of iron, which means we'll require 3000 liters of blood. If we allow for full exsanguination of a body:

4.7 liters of blood x .5 grams = 2.35 grams per enemy (GPE)
1500 / 2.35 GPE = 638.29 (enemies)

Hey Bob, I'm gonna need some more blood over here!
We'll need the blood of 639 men in order to forge our blade.

Full exsanguination isn’t actually going to be possible, and we haven’t accounted for any loss of material in the forge process either. To be safe, we're looking more like 1,000 enemies to get the blood we need.

Although, by the time we get half-way, unless our last name is Targaryan, we should be pretty well revenged.

I don't know how "neat" this is . . . in fact it sounds quite messy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Company of the Damned Cover is Finished!

My ax-sword should convince you!

Eleven out of Ten Stars! Professional, Fast, and Easy to Work with.

I’ve worked with a number of cover artists over the past couple of years—some were good, some were mediocre, one or two were horrible. Julie Nicholls of JMN ART is one of the best. I had been looking for a competent fantasy cover artist for COMPANY OF THE DAMNED when someone shared one of their covers by Julie, and when I did my research, I was impressed. She captured the tone and feel so well, and her covers were very professional. I had to wait almost a year, but it was worth it. We had a number of conversations over that time period, and I watched with eager jealousy as others received their covers. When it was finally my turn, Julie was laser-focused on me, my needs, and making certain I was happy with ever aspect. In mere hours, she turned around a draft for approval, and in days I had a beautiful cover that actively conveys the story I’m trying to tell.

I’m eager to work with Julie again, and can’t wait to share my new cover with readers!

Monday, May 13, 2019

More Chances to Win!

Enter early, enter often!

Don’t forget the May Giveaway newsletter sign up! 100% NO SPAM GUARANTEE! 

You can win a $25 gift card from Amazon, plus a five pack of ebooks, including THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE:

Books participating include:

The Clockwork Detective—R.A. McCandless
The Lucky Collection—Jenn Nixon
Being Mrs. Dracula—Faith Marlow
Bad Religion—Jim Winter
Starblood—Carmilla Voiez

You get extra points for following us online, and more for referring other readers to the giveaway!

A Five Star Clockwork!

Baroness Mathilda Ruggenall-Squirell approves.

What a lovely review!

“Oh wow.

I didn't know what to expect, and what I received is a whirlwind of characters and events.

I bought this book as it combines fantasy with steam-punk and some amazing detective work. We have a powerful war hero as the main character - and whilst she is looking forward to a comfortable anonymous job in the big city, fate - and the empire - intervene.

Humans, Fae, Hybrids, Royalty, blunderbuss's - this has something for everyone!”

Thanks Ross Johnson!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Review - Louann Carroll

Rockin' the Constabulary!

What a lovely surprise, and the words are so kind.  Thank you so much Louann Carroll for reviewing THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE:

You have to love the jacket, right? The book is as good as the cover and is as intricately designed. Imagine worlds where clockwork runs society without missing a beat. I can only imagine the plotlines where the author thought up the gadgets and gizmos that run his amazing world.

The Clockwork Detective
Strong and courageous, Detective Aubrey Hartmann rocks the constabulary with her dedication, intelligence, and determination. She carries a boatload of medals, thinks like a genius, and solves the impossible crimes. Her missing leg, attained in the Imperial battlefield is made of clockwork, and other than a few twinges our detective sets the world of crime on its ear with her, and I quote, 'fearsome reputation'. I will add well deserved too.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Morning Surprise - Five Stars!

Capital. Just capital!

Opening my inbox this morning revealed a lovely five-star review from Laura Fuller:

I jumped at the chance to preview a steampunk mystery and R.A. McCandless did not disappoint! McCandless writes an engaging, strong, LGBTQ+ heroine who is fearless, intelligent, and sassy. I look forward to reading more of Aubrey's adventures.

Equal parts mystery and steampunk, this book will satisfy a wide audience of readers. The cast was interesting and well-developed, and the well-paced action made this one difficult to put down.

Thanks Laura!  This made my day.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Help an Indie Author

I'm doing my part!

There's only FIVE MORE DAYS until release day!  What can you do today to help an indie author out?

“A wonderful, fully realized, utterly plausible steampunk world!”
— James P. Blaylock

The May Giveaway newsletter signup (100% NO SPAM GUARANTEE). You can win an ebook versions of this and three other books, and a $20 Amazon gift card!

You can join NetGalley and get an Advanced Reader Copy so you can leave an early review:

R.A. McCandless has succeeded in creating a new world with believable characters in an intriguing mystery with the potential to become classic.
— Keri B. Media

You can also leave a review on GoodReads, and, on May 7th, on Amazon, and on Barnes & Noble.

From the first page it's clear that world-building is McCandless's superpower. Between the Haenlein, the developing city of Aqualinne, and the backwoods town of Sankt Andra, I felt immersed in a surreal fantasy world where old meets new.
—Jodi Perkins

Then, you can tell others.  Tweet, share, like, gift. There are so many ways to help an indie author succeed, and keep them generating the kind of stories that you enjoy reading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It's Always Something

This might be an exaggeration.

As a project manager, life is all about milestones and deadlines. If you build a little sway in your scope, everything tends to go off without a hitch. There’s always something, but for the most part, schedules, reminders, and consistent updates mitigate the risk.

That’s what my world is all about.

Enter my oldest son.

Normally, this kid is an angel. Sometimes, he’s an annoying pre-teen. Once in a while, he’s a complete disaster.

We were on-time-toward-running-late yesterday, when suddenly . . .

“Dad?” he called from upstairs.

I could hear the concern in his voice and the project manager inside me cringed. Mental calculations told me that we had a window of about five minutes for any delays.

“Ok,” he said, “I was flushing some toilet paper and—”

“And it overflowed,” I finished for him. “Ok, no problem. Thank you for telling me.”

I ran to my bathroom to retrieve the plunger (forgetting that we had one in the upstairs bathroom too) and that’s when I heard it.  The sound of my carefully laid plan breaking to the tune of a veritable waterfall flowing from my bathroom ceiling from the lake that had been the floor above me.

“How many times did you try to flush the toilet?” I asked him as I ran up the stairs, plunger in hand.

“Five or six.”

Did you cringe?  I cringed.  It wasn’t as bad as you might think, but it was still bad. The toilet was still overflowing, water running down the sides with every step I took. Like a video game ninja throwing shuriken, I tossed down every towel within reach, pushed the plunger into the toilet, and got to work. Three seconds later, the toilet drained and then it was just a matter of cleaning up not just one, but two bathroom floors.

Here’s hoping my space heater isn’t fried!

So yeah, it’s always something.